For more than a year now, I've been eating dessert first. Not just any dessert, mind you. I've been on a quest to find those rich, showy favorites that satisfy the South's legendary sweet tooth--those confections that tell us a bit about the region we love so much.
When I started this journey, I feared that the old-fashioned homemade dessert had gone the way of the country store, struggling for survival in a mass-marketed, mile-a-minute world. But there are those who keep the flame burning, who carry on the sweet traditions of hospitality and showmanship.
So cinch up your girdle, and sample some Southern classics. If it makes you feel any better, you can read this while walking on the treadmill tonight.
photo: Stacked sky-high with layer-upon-layer, this cake is a specialty of Smith Island, Maryland.